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Saturday, 15 October 2011


Spare a thought for the Wales rugby team and their passionate 3million compatriots out of the 53million people who together make up our nation of 'England and Wales'. In the semi-final of the World Cup they went down fighting, 8 - 9 to France after playing three quarters of the game with only 14 men following the sending off of their young captain Sam Warburton. Already recognised as a role model he was controversially shown the red-card after an alleged illegal tackle. England's failed bid for glory was to have been redeemed by the boys in red but despite playing their hearts out in today's game they lost their place in the final after a hasty decision by the referee.

The conduct of the young Welsh team won them many admirers and with expectations running so high that many English commentators had started saying "We are all Welsh now." How sad, then, when technology has been introduced to ensure a better sense of fair play the Referee didn't bother to use it. If he had, he would have avoided ruining the game for millions of people around the world. From my perspective Warburton's forward momentum was such that he was unable to do other than release the player after the tackle to avoid falling on top of him resulting in a far greater impact. I am sure there will be many replays over the weekend so we shall see. After that, if Australia beat New Zealand in the other semi-final, the battle for third place will be something to look forward to.

There have been many genuine tragedies in Wales from long term unemployment to the appalling losses suffered in the Aberfan disaster and the more recent loss of life in the Gleision Colliery disaster. Of course this latest disaster is nothing like on the same scale but what a shame that it was an avoidable tragedy that blighted the game when spirits in England and Wales so badly need a lift.

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